Getting old Librarians and the Disaster of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay School Library

Getting old Librarians and the Disaster of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay School Library

Getting old Librarians and the Disaster of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay School Library


The difficulty of succession planning has been mentioned in a number of library fora. The Tutorial Libraries Group did a revealing SWOT evaluation throughout its presentation on the Seminar on Library Capability Constructing Interventions for Achievement of the Millennium Improvement Targets (MDGs) in West Africa on the Erata Resort, East Legon, Ghana in June 2009. Although a number of strengths have been recognized (together with proper calibre of employees, certified professionals, skilled employees, organised buildings, influential place of College Librarians as a part of prime administration and the provision of formal skilled committees/organisations/associations), a hanging weak spot amongst eight others was that of the ‘getting old librarians’. The Library at Fourah Bay School (FBC), College of Sierra Leone, shouldn’t be an exception. A major proportion of senior library employees would retire between 2018 & 2026, and solely the implementation of an aggressive succession planning coverage would salvage the essential scenario. It’s believed that Alexander the Nice by no means had a strong succession plan and the bitter consequence was the disintegration of the far-flung empire he struggled to construct.


Succession planning is about changing employees who will finally go away an organisation on account of a number of elements together with dying, switch, resignation, termination, dismissal, retirement and so forth. In response to Blakesley, it “could more and more be seen as simply part of strategic planning processes, as we determine what should be completed and what will be given up, and the right way to reallocate, retrain and realign the individuals who stay in our organizations” (2011 p. 34). The Biblical injunction (Paul to Timothy) is apt: “And the issues that thou hast heard of me amongst many witnesses, the identical commit thou to devoted males, who shall have the ability to train others additionally.”

(2 Timothy 2:2, King James Model).

Angela Bridgland (1999) opined that folks and positions must be systematically reviewed to make sure that the strategic plan of an organisation is carried out. Although there may be a lot discuss concerning the “graying of our career” (Blakesley, 2011, p. 32), we’re reminded that “it is not information that child boomers are reaching retirement age” (Bermes, p. 66). In 2001, in the course of the joint convention organised by the Standing Convention of African College Libraries, Western Space (SCAULWA) and the West African Library Affiliation (WALA) in Accra, Ghana the writer of this text commented on the fast decline within the variety of skilled librarians in Sierra Leone. The scenario in Fourah Bay School Library is a microcosm of the nationwide drawback. {Many professional} librarians within the nation have retired from the career. A few of these dynamic personalities or family names embrace Mrs. Gladys Jusu-Sheriff, Mrs. Deanna Thomas (late), Mrs. Gloria Dillsworth, Mrs. Olatungie Campbell, Mrs. Marian Lisk, Mr. Victor Coker, Mrs. Alice Malamah-Thomas, Mr. A.N.T. Deen (late), Mrs. Yeama Lucilda Hunter, Mrs. Abator Thomas, Prof. Magnus John and so forth. This has left a really large hole within the career and the present skilled librarians are only a few and much between.


There are three important classes of employees at FBC Library, particularly, junior, senior supporting and senior.

Senior Employees

Maybe the difficulty of succession planning could be very essential when one considers the proportion of senior library employees (educational and technical) that might retire inside the subsequent couple of years. It should be famous that the retirement age for senior members of employees is sixty-five years.

If 5 out of the seven members of employees (that’s 71.4%) will retire in eight years (between 2018 and 2026), or six (85.8%) will go away the system between 2018 and 2030), the strategic significance of succession planning at Fourah Bay School Library can’t be over emphasised. The present head has a bit of over a decade and a half to set the home so as earlier than his exit, supplied he stays till the tip of his personal tenure in 2033 (after a service of forty one years).

The primary to retire in 2018 would have given a complete of forty-four years of service to the School and is at present the pinnacle of the Periodicals Part within the Library. He’s unanimously dubbed ‘the Encyclopaedia of Fourah Bay School Library’.

Maybe, essentially the most damaging loss often is the present Guide Binder whose substitute is now being actively mentioned on the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research (INSLICS) at Fourah Bay School the place he teaches all of the conservation programs. Who will exchange him when he retires in 2023 after giving forty-five years of service to the Bindery? That’s certainly the query. He has already given 20 years of his profession serving as a Half -Time Lecturer at INSLICS and there may be hardly every other tertiary establishment in Sierra Leone with a useful bindery unit. Not one of the different 9 members of employees within the bindery at Fourah Bay School possess any qualification in conservation. That very same 12 months (2023) would additionally witness the tip of forty-five years of service of the pinnacle of one other distinctive part, the Sierra Leone Assortment, which kinds an integral a part of the nationwide bibliography of Sierra Leone. He’s strategically positioned to coach potential librarians throughout his final six years as he’ll graduate with the M.Phil in Library, Archive & Info Research in 2017.

He might be adopted by the present head of the Cataloguing Division who would have served for thirty 4 years on his retirement in 2025, the identical variety of years the pinnacle of the Difficulty Desk/Circulation Division would have given when her service ends in 2026.

The dynamism of a senior feminine educational employees is already evident in the truth that she at present deputises the pinnacle of the Cataloguing part and supervises the American Shelf, the place she organises many significant outreach programmes. She might be thought to be a really dynamic public relations officer who has way more to contribute in her forty-five years of service that may finish in 2030.

Senior Supporting employees

Employees on this class are due for retirement on the age of sixty. Sadly, this class lacks the corresponding variety of employees to switch those that will finally retire from the senior cadre. In actual fact, a male employees is due for retirement on the finish of September this 12 months and he’s at present serving his second 12 months past the age of retirement.

Fortuitously, a feminine employees on this class just lately graduated with the M.Phil in Library and Info Science from INSLICS and this employees is at present the President of the Sierra Leone Affiliation of Archivists, Librarians and Info Professionals (SLAALIP) the place she is serving the primary time period, which might finish in 2017. The M.Phil diploma would finally catapult her to the senior educational employees class. A second feminine employees has a lot to supply the Library till 2032. She has accomplished a number of programmes at INSLICS, together with the undergraduate diploma, put up graduate diploma and is at present doing her M.Phil. The likelihood additionally exists for the Administrative Assistant to pursue a profession in Librarianship. One of many male employees has been recognized as a possible chief as he has already accomplished his postgraduate diploma in Library and Info Research and would enroll for the M.Phil in the identical self-discipline within the 2016/17 session. With two extra many years within the library, there may be all a definite risk that he can also have a chance to move your entire library. One other feminine employees (an administrative employees) additionally has the choice to pursue a profession in Librarianship and rise to key library positions inside the subsequent many years.

Junior employees

The twenty one members of employees on this class kind the majority of the library employees. Since a library’s most necessary useful resource is its employees, appreciable sources and vitality should be concentrated to empower these employees who’re working with little or no certificates. Employees on this class retire on the age of sixty years, giving the library administration a chance to establish those who could be inspired to additional enhance themselves and enter the tertiary establishment. Though these twenty one employees have little or no or no important {qualifications}, the way forward for Fourah Bay School Library squarely lies within the fingers of this potential workforce.

A feminine employees is at present enrolled at INSLICS and he or she would hopefully full her Bachelor of Arts with Honours diploma in the course of the 2017/18 session. Upon completion, the anticipated place to be assumed by a feminine employees is Senior Library Assistant and with additional coaching at INSLICS, she is going to finally transfer to the senior educational cadre. A male employees is at present enrolled in a diploma programme on the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research, Fourah Bay School and would hopefully graduate on the finish of the 2017/18 educational 12 months. He would finally be upgraded to the Library Assistant place. One other male employees has already gained admission on the Institute of Public Administration and Administration (IPAM) to learn for a bachelor’s diploma in Public Sector Administration. Upon completion, he’ll transfer to the Senior Supporting Class as a Trainee Librarian. Such a place will give him the chance to finally register for a Submit Graduate Diploma in Librarianship course at INSLICS. Sadly, a feminine employees that accomplished the Certificates in Library Research in the course of the 2014/15 session died on nineteenth January 2016.

Eight junior employees will retire within the 2040s and 5 within the 2030s and the service of one other eight will finish between 2019 and 2029. A number of employees have been inspired to take or retake the West African Senior Certificates Examination to qualify them to enroll on diploma programmes at INSLICS or different departments. One other potential employees simply obtained her 5 credit that may allow her acquire acceptance within the College of Sierra Leone.


1. The Want for Extra Employees to enroll on the Institute of Library, Info & Communication Research

The Institute of Library Research (INSLIBS) was established in 1989 as an arm of the College of Sierra Leone. INSLIBS turned part of Fourah Bay School in 2000 when it was merged with the Division of Mass Communication and assumed its new identify, the Institute of Library, Info & Communication Research (INSLICS).

The place of librarian at Fourah Bay School was upgraded from the extent of Senior Lecturer to the extent of Professor at a gathering of the School Council in October 1961 (Jones 1977). This professorial standing was gained in the course of the tenure of the expatriate librarian, Mr. Michael Jollife (1961-1971) after whom the school library was named.

INSLICS at present presents 5 programmes in Library and knowledge Research: Grasp of Philosophy, Submit Graduate Diploma, Bachelor of Arts with honours, Diploma and the Particular Certificates. All educational employees, librarians at Fourah Bay School should make the most of the present programmes provided on the institute in an effort to speed up their skilled improvement and attain essential positions within the library system.

a. The Masters Diploma/MPhil. in Librarianship

The acquisition of the masters diploma in librarianship shouldn’t be downplayed by librarians if they’re to efficiently climb the skilled ladder within the college library system. Extra librarians possess masters levels in different disciplines aside from librarianship and that is very harmful to the skilled improvement of the libraries inside the college. These {qualifications} are vital in a single’s improvement as knowledgeable librarian since senior librarians within the College of Sierra Leone are educational employees. Moreover, there may be dire want for extra topic librarians inside the college if the wants of researchers must be met. Nevertheless, this path is hampered when these {qualifications} are obtained with out due consideration to the MA or M.Phil from the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research (INSLICS) or elsewhere. Two senior members of employees accomplished the M. Phil programme at INSLICS inside the final six years and two are at present engaged on corrections recognized by their exterior examiners. The Trainee Librarian registered for the MPhil in the course of the 2015/16 session. The skilled improvement of the library could be enhanced if different members of employees are inspired to enroll for skilled library {qualifications}.

b. The Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship

This above qualification is essential for workers who’re desirous of pursuing librarianship as a profession however with no formal or skilled qualification within the area. Maybe this path is nevertheless not vital for members of employees with the undergraduate diploma in librarianship. Any employees within the college with a primary diploma in one other area aside from librarianship must be inspired to enroll to acquire this primary skilled qualification.

c. The Undergraduate Diploma in Librarianship

The rationale for the existence of a diploma, post-graduate diploma and masters programmes within the library institute within the early Nineties with out the undergraduate diploma in librarianship remains to be not clear to the researcher, since he passionately believes that it was partly answerable for the stagnation of many library employees inside the system after the diploma programme. 4 employees members at Fourah Bay School Library have accomplished this programme because the first set graduated in 2004. There’s at present one feminine employees on this programme. Extra must be inspired to pursue this qualification, which might assist them to develop within the system.

d. The Diploma in Librarianship

This programme is designed to coach para-professional employees and has given the chance to those that have labored for a really lengthy interval to be thought of for the senior supporting place. Extra members of employees must be inspired to register for this crucial para-professional qualification.

e. The Certificates in Librarianship

Although the above programme was discontinued 2000 because of the scarcity of employees, it has been revamped and is at present been provided as a Particular Certificates. Some employees from completely different libraries have benefitted from this coaching however extra must be inspired to make the most of this coaching.

2. The introduction of a PhD programme in Librarianship

The significance of a doctoral programme in Librarianship is lengthy overdue and an absolute necessity. There are at present two Affiliate Professors within the College of Sierra Leone, one every on the Institute of Public Administration and Administration (IPAM) and the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research (INSLICS). The introduction of such a programme at INSLICS would additional improve the capability of employees in your entire college, a chance Fourah Bay School Library employees, amongst others, would make the most of. The Mass Communication division at INSLICS has already launched its doctoral programme with just one Professor.

3. The necessity to Appoint a College Librarian

There’s must appoint a College Librarian to co-ordinate library actions inside the College of Sierra Leone. Such a extremely profiled official would actively symbolize the library career within the College Courtroom, a physique the place the voice of the librarian is at present in a roundabout way heard. Just one College Librarian has been formally appointed and he or she left the nation when the rebels attacked town of Freetown in 1997. She by no means returned to the establishment and there may be an pressing must appoint one other.

4. Membership {of professional} associations

Skilled library associations are a should for skilled librarians. Many librarians within the College of Sierra Leone are members of the Sierra Leone Affiliation of Archivists, Librarians and Info Professionals (SLAALIP). Nevertheless, membership of worldwide skilled library associations must be inspired. Library employees within the College of Sierra Leone should establish themselves as members of worldwide library associations since such membership enhances skilled improvement. In 2016 for example, Fourah Bay School Library turned a member of the African Library and Info Associations & Establishments (AfLIA).

5. Implications of latest Know-how

Librarians are at present on a crossroad and should embrace the brand new expertise to justify their existence on this info age when the gathering administration emphasis shouldn’t be on possession however entry to info. Those that are nonetheless conventional librarians may justifiably be classed below the class of Endangered Species. Members of employees should make sure that they aren’t merely pc literate however pc proficient and should have the ability to disseminate info in any format. Librarians within the College of Sierra Leone typically, and Fourah Bay School particularly, “should pay a tremendously excessive worth in preserving conventional providers and embracing the brand new technological advances” (Harding, 2002, p. 9). The college administration should acknowledge the centrality of its educational nerve centre and equip it accordingly.

6. Growth of library positions

It’s evident that the expansion of the coed inhabitants within the College of Sierra Leone has not seen a corresponding progress within the variety of employees. At FBC library particularly, extra members of employees could possibly be discovered on the employees record within the Seventies when the coed inhabitants was about 5 hundred, than the present itemizing, when there are about seven thousand college students.

If members of employees are being inspired to check to arrest the impact of retirement, defection, switch, dying and so forth., extra positions must be created in any respect ranges to make sure their upward mobility since promotion relies on a number of elements together with {qualifications}, efficiency and availability of established positions.


The continual substitute of employees and management coaching/improvement are essential at Fourah Bay School Library, College of Sierra Leone. With out strategically planning the right way to garner sources to equip present employees with the required expertise wanted to fill inevitable gaps, the succession planning will proceed to pose a critical problem in Fourah Bay School Library. Since success with out successor is failure, a serious step in succession planning is to identify vacancies that will seemingly be obtainable, periodically. Moreover, there should be a strategic consideration of the way wherein these recognized vacancies could possibly be stuffed. The implication is then a sensible consideration of the expectations within the job and an identification of the talents exhibited by the prevailing employees to allow administration to tailor coaching actions.


Bermes, Emily Osbun. (2011). “Succession Planning for the Small Enterprise.” Enterprise Individuals. 3(2), pp. 60-71.
Blakesley, Elizabeth. (2011). “Planning for the longer term: sources to probe for succession planning”. Library Management and Administration. 25(2), pp. 29-36.
Bridgland, Angela. (1999). “To Fill, or Tips on how to Fill – That’s the Query: Succession Planning and Management Improvement in Tutorial Libraries.” Australian Tutorial and Analysis Libraries. 30(1).
Harding, Oliver L.T. (2002). “The African College librarian within the Info Age”. SCAULWA Publication. 3(2), pp. 8-11.
Jones, Eldred. Tribute delivered at a memorial service and requiem mass held for the late Michael Jolliffe on the Sacred Coronary heart Cathedral, Freetown, on Wednesday, twenty second June, 1977.

#Getting old #Librarians #Disaster #Succession #Planning #Fourah #Bay #School #Library

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